Hill and valley

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s visit to The Newt. She knows that I like a gate.

When Mrs Tootlepedal had been up on the moor yesterday morning with the visiting party, she had been much struck by the heather, so after breakfast today, she took me up to have a look at for myself. It was a breezy day but the sun was out and the heather was looking good…

…wherever you looked….

…and we did a lot of looking.

Having looked and enjoyed, we came back down the hill and set about some gardening. I mowed the front lawn while Mrs Tootlepedal trimmed hedges and box balls.

It was a warm and sunny day in spite of the brisk wind, and the flowers deserved a photograph. I didn’t like to miss the opportunity…

….and there were a lot of them.

We are very pleased to see that one of the very very few plums on the frost ravaged plum tree is actually ripening. We shall have to have a special plum eating ceremony when the time comes.

I kept an eye open for butterflies and spotted two, a peacock and a small tortoiseshell.

There were a couple of red admirals about as well but they were camera shy. We are still very short of butterflies.

Sandy came down for coffee on his way to Carlisle to do a favour for a friend. As he left, we were joined by Margaret. It was pretty breezy but the new bench in the shelter of the walnut tree gave us a comparatively quiet place to sit and enjoy the sunshine while we sipped and chatted.

When Margaret left, Mrs Tootlepedal paid attention to the sunflowers. We are promised very strong winds tomorrow so she put in extra diagonal supports.

I sieved some compost for a shrub that she is transplanting and kept an eye out for bird life on the lawn.

There was something very attractive to blackbirds and sparrows there.

We may not have many butterflies but there is a steady stream of bees in all weathers.

When lunchtime came round, I watched the birds for a while…

…and it didn’t take long for greenfinches to get stuck into the newly filled feeder.

Sandy had got safely back from Carlisle and in the afternoon, he arrived in his car to take me out for a short walk, the first time that we have been out for a walk together for ages. We drove a couple of miles down the A7 and parked in a convenient spot on the old road, planning to walk down the road and back just to stretch our legs. Sandy is recovering from a foot operation and still has to take things carefully.

The summer wild flowers are nearly over but I was able to take a picture of these four without going more than a few yards from the car.

Our plan to walk down the road didn’t last long. We hadn’t gone more than a few yards when we noticed a gap in the hedge. When we peered through, it was clear that there was a path through the woods that we had never noticed before.

The entrance didn’t look very inviting but it turned out to be a very good path with a lot of interest and occasional glimpses of the River Esk through the trees.

It led us along the river to Irvine House, once the residence of the factor of the Buccleuch Estate but now lying empty and unused. There is a fine set of steps from the garden down to the river…

…which we we went down. The Tarras Water joins the River Esk just opposite the house…

…and it is a beautiful spot on a sunny summer day.

We didn’t go further down the river bank because a fisherman was hard at work there and we didn’t want to disturb him, so after taking a picture or two of nature…

…we walked past the house and along the drive to join the old road and went back to the car.

We crossed some nice bridges on our way and saw a very good crop of mint by one of them.

Our walk was only just over a mile but it was richly rewarding and quite as far as Sandy wanted to go. He drove us home by the scenic route so we had an excellent outing.

When I got back, the rest of the afternoon was devoted to recording my contribution to the Carlisle Community Choir’s virtual performance. After a little experimentation, I found a comfortable set up, donned the headphones, set up the video on my phone, played the backing track and sang as well as I could. After a couple of practice runs, I went for a take.

I can’t say much for the quality of the voice but I got all the words right and sung at all the times that I was supposed to be singing. A triumph.

Transferring the resulting recording to the central account for the choir turned out to be more simple than I expected. Now I have to wait to see how many members managed to make a recording and whether the results are good enough to be put together to make a performance. I hope it works.

I made corned beef hash for tea and now we have the hatches battened down waiting for stormy weather. The worst is due tomorrow evening so we have our fingers crossed.

I almost used this chaffinch as flying bird of the day. If you look closely, you can see that it is genuinely flying….

…but in the end, I thought that this was a better example.

Footnote; Sandy has written about our walk in his blog. You can see his take here

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Hill and valley

  1. Well done for putting your singing video together, I hope enough of your fellow singers managed too and that there will be a result that we can look at! Loved the pictures you took on your walk with Sandy.

  2. Some great wild flower shots,and the paths through the woods..I always like a path,with the expectation of what might be around the next corner.👍

  3. Everything looks lovely there, and I hope tomorrow’s storm spares your gardens any damage. All that heather reminded me of the song “Heather On The Hill”. It’s been ages since I heard it.

      1. Good point!

        I also love that photo of the bee head first in the orange nasturtium. It reminded me of Winnie the Pooh with his head stuck in the honey jar. You have far better luck than I do catching good photos of bees.

  4. The heather was worth the walk. It’s beautiful and I wish it would grow like that here. It kind of sits and sulks here.
    The blue (?) flower beside the beech leaves is also beautiful. I can’t guess what it is.
    I’m glad Sandy was able to get out again. The two of you together often find very interesting places and unusual things.

  5. Oddly enough we also seem to have far less butterflies this year. The frogs seem to have disappeared as well. Still some lizards here and there though. I caught a glimpse of the tiniest lizard I’ve ever seen. It was barely an inch long.

      1. How prescient. After commenting about missing frogs, that very same night I turned on the yard light and noticed a small tree frog clinging to the kitchen window. We also managed an impressive 0.15″ (Google seems to think that’s 3.81 mm) of rain last night. Perhaps that’s something which connects to the appearance of the frog. Eric used to tell me he would hear the lizards “sing” at night in advance of rain. I’ve heard them, too.

  6. How great that you and Sandy can go on walks again. I love that you found such a great new path. I also just love that photo of the bee going into a nasturtium. It brings some memory to mind about Winnie the Pooh and a honey pot.

      1. Glad to read this! I have a horror of destructive winds. Time was when destructive winds hardly ever came to Maine. Now, they are far more common. Hate ’em!

  7. Lovely photos of the heather- it really all looks wonderful. Hope you picked a sprig or two! What a treat to discover a new pathway with bridges and such a pretty one too! If the choir performance turns out well hope we’ll be able to hear it!

  8. Very good news that Sandy was able to join you for a walk – it’s been a long haul for him with his foot operation and recovery. That staircase to the river is absolutely wonderful! It’s beautiful in itself, but to be able to live next to a river and have such access would have me tickled pink. I look forward to hearing how the amalgamation of the choristers’ recordings works out.

  9. I am glad Sandy is able to go for walks with you again after all this time. I hope he continues to improve. The new walk is a timely find! I liked the first FBotD and its feathery knee-britches and the second picture is very good and so clear.

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